A day after tragedy struck at the Simhastha Kumbh in Ujjain, things were back on track on Friday with lakhs of pilgrims taking a holy dip in Kshipra on the occasion of ‘Vaishakh Krishna Amavasya.’
Seven people were killed and more than 50 injured when heavy rains accompanied by squall flattened and uprooted makeshift tents of pilgrims in the mela area.
While many pilgrims faced hardships on Thursday evening after the tents were damaged and electricity supply was cut off, things limped back to normal on Friday morning.
“Except for muddy roads, I did not face any problem in approaching the Ram Ghat for taking a dip,” Raghav Singh, a pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh, told HT.
15-20 lakh pilgrims visit Kshipra ghat
Huge rush of pilgrims at around 8 am prompted the police to put up barricades at the main intersections and stop the vehicular traffic on the approach roads to the ghat. While no official estimates are available, 15-20 lakh pilgrims visited Kshipra ghat on Friday, about 5 lakh more than the first day of shahi shan. The main reason for the rush was that it was the last day of Panch Kroshi yatra when the devotees return to Ujjain to take a holy dip in Kshipra.
Devotees who had faced some problems in procuring food on Thursday evening had lunch at the Bhandara (community kitchen) of various Akharas on Friday. A number of kiosks selling snacks and other eating joints were also open for business.
However, the district administration had come in for flak on Thursday evening after a drainage line burst at the Ram ghat and dirty water flooded into Kshipra. Many pilgrims and sadhus also had difficulty in getting food and other amenities as the power supply was cutoff as a precautionary measure to prevent incidents of electrocution.
When HT visited the pandals of sadhus on Friday morning, some of them were angry at the mismanagement. “Nobody from the administration has come to ask about our well being. The least they could have done was provided tea as our rations have become wet after yesterday’s rainfall,” said a sadhu belonging to Madhavdas Tyagi ashram in Mangal Nath area.
District collector Kavindra Kiyawat said, “the administration is working full time to ensure that the damaged tents are repaired and all the pilgrims get the basic amenities.
Angry sadhus stage road block
A section of sadhus in Mangal Nath area staged road block and overthrew police barricades to protest against the delay in repair works of the damaged tents. The sadhus were upset that instead of carrying out repair works of the main gate and the tents, the police had put up barricades in front of the ashram that was preventing the people from visiting the ashram.